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Glossary

Superabsorbent Polymers

Superabsorbent polymers are plastics that are able to absorb large amounts of polar liquids relative to their own mass (in particular water or aqueous solutions). By absorbing the liquid, the superabsorbent polymer swells and forms a hydrogel. The sum of the volume of the liquid and the volume of the dry superabsorbent polymer remains the same. The latest research findings in the field of materials science meanwhile make it possible to produce superabsorbent polymers for oil. They are able to absorb an amount of oil that is up to 45 times their own weight. The affinity to oil is caused by aliphatic and aromatic side chains of the basic polymer. Superabsorbent polymers, that can increase the water retention capacity of soils, have recently been developed. They are able to absorb water that is 100 times their own weight.